Superhero Sister: Part Four
Taking note of the threatening storm clouds in the distance, Rayon and I sped up our walk to the Headquarters. Rayon seemed at peace, happily waving to proud citizens outside doing chores or other tasks. For the first time in what seemed like years, he wasn’t wearing the uniform, and so it was nice to see him be my brother again.
It was a short walk to the Headquarters, and therefore it was of no surprise when the building reared up in front of us. When we walked through the sliding doors, a receptionist was behind a desk, busily writing down complicated figures and sorting out forms. She was a green Blumaroo, and looked very, very, cross.
“May I help you?” she more grunted than asked.
My brother answered her, but by then I had lost interest in the conversation. The building was nothing short of wondrous. The glass windows, which were tinted on the other side, could now be viewed clearly. The cavernous ceiling seemed to stretch into infinity, and the walls had colorful murals of Defenders defeating foes from years ago. It was a half rectangle, half sphere-shaped room. The receptionist’s desk was directly in front of us, but when I leaned to the right to get her head out of the way, I could see a pair of massive doors on the far side of the room. I couldn’t tell if they sent a shiver of anticipation down my spine, or one of fear.
“Come on, Squirt!” Rayon called. I snapped back down to reality.
“Hmm?” I mumbled. He was behind the secretary, motioning me forward towards the doors. “Oh,” I said, catching on to what he meant.
“Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” I told him, slightly shamefaced.
“I noticed,” he replied, half serious, half sarcastic.
Our voices echoed through the room, “noticed” coming back more than once. It was strange, hearing a distant voice mirroring your exact words.
“So what are we going to do now?” I asked as we arrived at the doors, our paws clicking on the marble floor. “Do we go through?”
“Of course we do,” he jovially replied, smiling. I gave a tentative one back- my brother hadn’t been nice to me in a while. I matched his smile.
He grabbed a large, shiny, brass knocker and slowly pulled it outwards toward himself with ease. I mimicked his movements, doing the same to the door in front of me.
I groaned; the wooden door was harder to pull than it looked.
When both doors were open, I went back over to Rayon who was standing in the open doorway. He looked serene, and I followed his gaze.
I was expecting to be shocked, awed, or even stunned at what I would see: the doors had seemed to beckon us. But when I saw what Rayon had grown to love so much, I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
The Kacheek smiled- if anyone had been around him near the edges of Neopia Central with him, they would have shivered. The Kacheek wandered slowly towards the town center... Part Two of his plan had started.
It was the Defenders’ main lobby, where the hallway split into two sections; one leading to the right, and another to the left. I was expecting glamour, excitement, anything but this. It was just... bland, with a turquoise cape in a center showpiece, with others leading to the right and left doorways. Yes, the ceiling was mainly a skylight, but the overcast sky did nothing for the boring effect the room transfixed me with. Above each door to the right and left –which were actually staircases, I noted later- were large silver badges that gleamed from an unknown source of light.
“So, how do you like it?” I heard from my left. I couldn’t bring myself to tell the truth –why is it so much harder? - and quickly lied. “It’s wonderful,” I said through gritted teeth. Well, that sounded bad to even me, so I added, “which doorway?” before Rayon could comment on my sincere lack of interest.
“Right,” my brother nearly whispered- he had most likely heard the disappointment in my voice. “Just... follow me.”
I obliged, following Rayon up after each wooden step for about a minute until we came to a landing, and the stairs banked to the right sharply.
Torches lining the wall kept everything illuminated- it was strange, seeing the modern-looking building from outside and yet having torches.
“How much farth-” I cut myself off as we arrived at where my brother had obviously wanted to take me. Once again, we arrived in a spacious room with an all-glass ceiling that showed the rain clouds gathering. On the far side of the room, was an all-window wall. You could see the east side of Neopia Central from there- I saw shapes scurrying home from the oncoming storm.
“Isn’t this like spying?” I asked as I saw an Acara drop her groceries in the distance.
“Sometimes spying is the only way,” Rayon softly commented. “Bad is sometimes good.”
“...What?” That was extremely out-of-character for my brother to say.
“You don’t know what it’s like.” Rain started splattering on the windows. “I tried my hardest.”
“Rayon, what are you going on about?”
He snapped his jaw. “Quiet!” he yelled. The rain began plotting more and more heavily, creating an echo.
The room was rectangular- to my front was the window wall and to my back was the door leading to the staircase. This looked like a meeting-room of sorts, as there was a long table with chairs with an inviting rug underneath. To my right and left were corridors leading to different rooms.
Rayon started shaking, his head down to the floor. “I tried so hard. I let the Judge see my point of view. But no.” He raised his head and met my eyes. I nearly yelped- his eyes were screaming with a vendetta yet unsettled. “They kicked me out.”
“Rayon!” I yelled. “Who are you?”
“Who am I?” he called back to me. “I think the real question is who you are, my dear sister.”
“Stop it!” I screeched. “Stop it, stop it, stop it!”
It was Lola’s voice, coming from the entrance into the room being preceded by my mother. I didn’t care why or how she knew I was there, I was just glad she was.
“Lola!” I ran over to her and tried to hug her, but she shoved me back into the conference table. Pain ran into my side as I stood.
She held up a paw, as did my mother to silence me.
“You were a crack in the plan,” my mother told me. “No one was to have seen or it happen. Every Neopian should have been in their house at that time. Lola here,” she nodded her head to her right, “had the misfortune of coming across me. Now look, she’s one of me.”
“One of me? What-”
“Silence!” roared Rayon. “Let me speak.”
My mother continued as if she hadn’t been interrupted. “You will be one of me. Come easy now; it won’t hurt.”
“Much,” added Lola in a sing-song voice.
I swiveled my head back and forth between the three, waiting for them to break out laughing and yell ‘SURPRISE’! But instead they started advancing on me, and when I saw Lola brace to tackle me-
Jumping a split second before her, she crashed into the table behind and not myself. Instead I nimbly landed on the carpet not far away, turning to face my brother who swiped a paw at me. It caught me on the cheek, but it didn’t draw blood.
I took my left hindquarter and swung it quickly in a semi-circle, knocking him onto his back. He snarled and turned upright, backing up to check himself for injuries. My mother looked bored, watching the fight with interest.
Lola, getting the wind back into her, came round to come at me with my brother while I kept my back to the table. They were ready to pounce, but backed off for no apparent reason.
I heard a low “Oh, hurry up already,” from no one in the room and my world exploded, literally. The glass wall, covering nearly half of the Defender base, shattered and blew outwards into the rain. The rain started pouring inwards, quickly soaking me to the bone.
“Oh, goody,” Rayon commented.
Numb shock swept throughout my body... all that glass just exploded... at least Neopians would be safe from the glass, sheltering away in their homes from the rain...
If I had been in my right mind, I should have wondered why the glass exploded outwards only, why three of my most trusted companions were now insane, why a sudden jarring in my chest hurt like crazy-
Someone tackled me away from the table, and without a wall to support me, I fell fifteen floors to the wet ground below. My mother, brother, or best friend had just killed me.
To be continued...